Monday, 29 June 2015

An ode to Julian Bennett and 'that' goal against Yeovil

Some goals are memorable because they are skilful or emphatic. Some stick in the mind because they are important in the context of a game. Others because of the rarity of the scorer.

When it comes to Julian Bennett's piledriver against Yeovil, all of the above are true and it's what makes it my favourite goal (that I've seen live).

From the crunchiest of crunching tackles seen on City Ground turf since Psycho, to stepping over a prone body to wallop home with the outside of his left foot, the Meadows man's effort had everything.

Everything too in the sense that it was him - the home town boy who had for an all-too-brief period solved the left back headache - and in the sense of its timing.

By the end of March in the 07/08 season we needed snookers to gain automatic promotion, a sad fact that made another play-off heartbreak seem inevitable.

Even five wins from six from that moment on meant that the impossible was still improbable going into the last game against Yeovil - a side we well and truly 'owed one' to after the year before (the less said about that the better).

But we needed two things to happen. To win our game and to get a favour from Cheltenham. I always feel that an 'if, but, maybe' situation for Forest spells certain disaster. Yet this goal from Bennett, 12 minutes in, set a very different tone on a day where it did all work out just right - with Kris Commons and a magnificent McGugan also netting to earn a 3-2 victory that co-incided with good news from Whaddon Road.

Bennett's wholehearted displays had rightly earned him the player of the season crown - and this goal proved to be the icing on the cake. It was the epitome of his passion and desire. Sometimes unconventional and often in trouble for over zealous aggression, it was nevertheless a joy to see him excel in a defence that kept 24 clean sheets.

It's a shame that injuries robbed him of more appearances - both in the Garibaldi and beyond. His career may have been cut short, but memories of that goal against Yeovil on May 3 2008 will live on and on.

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